Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Happy 50th Anniversary Ocean Drilling!

A lot of firsts for me on this trip! First time on JOIDES Resolution and an IODP expedition; first time on a cruise in the Pacific Ocean; first time celebrating Christmas and New Year’s on the southern hemisphere and first time celebrating them on a ship! First green flash!

It’s been an A-mazing experience, capital A and separated for emphasis! I learnt a lot, laughed a lot, brainstormed a lot, exercised a lot, got shaken a lot, sampled a lot, met a lot! I met wonderful people from all over the world and we were a family for 6 weeks. Together we decorated the ship, together we celebrated these family holidays and together we were the last expedition for 2017 and the first for 2018. Yesterday as part of the greater IODP family we made a commemorating photo as 2018 celebrates 50 years of ocean drilling! I cannot put into words what it means to me to be part of this history! Maybe I won’t change the world (eh Josh? J), maybe I won’t make history, but I’m part of the IODP legacy now and that is quite fulfilling… for now.
It's like a game of risk, that I won, cause they're all mine!!!
I promised to tell you about Christmas, but in the meantime the JR outreach officers (our Erin and Steph) have done a wonderful job posting pictures and blogs on the joidesresolution.org blog and on Facebook, I’m sure you’ve seen them. If you’re wondering about how I experienced that day, my favourite part was wondering around the ship with the Creepy Chorus (that’s our choir) singing the carols for the crew, the kitchen staff, the Bridge, the core deck. The highlight for me was the midnight carols on the drill floor with the drill crew guys dancing to our singing of Rocking around the Christmas tree! Santa was sighted flying over New Zealand and I think he made a quick landing on our helideck and left us some presents! I got a Kiwi bird that I shall love forever and I will carry him on every trip and every cruise I go on from now on! That was my not so secret Santa gift (thanks Chief Kiwi). I was also finally able to open my present that my friend Aoife had given me before leaving Dublin. To resist temptation all these weeks before, I had left it in my suitcase, that way I wouldn’t see it all the time. It was such a heart-warming feeling to have a present to open from home, and yes, among other things it contained chocolate, and yes some of that chocolate was Buttler’s, a little taste of home that I shared with my Irish brother, Dave!
Chocolate from HOME!!!!

When we were waiting for the new year it was hard to think that Christmas was only a week ago. Apparently for some it felt like it was only a day before to others like it had been forever ago. I belong to the latter group J The night started with a party in our movie room-cum-training room-cum-disco room! Dancing and jumping and sweating until at 23:45 we all went to the bow of the ship, the lights were off and a ball with glittering lights was casting shimmers all over the ship and us. The oldest on the ship rang the old year out, and the youngest rang the new year in, the glitter ball started gliding on a wire from the top deck towards the bow and we began the countdown… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Happy New Year, the glitter ball lit up with 2018 on it, the captain blew the horn and we hugged and kissed and sang the Auld Lang Syne! How can I possibly bring to you the atmosphere?! It was the most surreal year change I’ve ever had, mesmerising and dreamlike. I’m so glad I experienced it! Then the party carried on, more dancing, more jumping, not good for the joints, we’re feeling it today J

The ball on New Year's eve afternoon


In the morning I got to show my family around the ship via live video call, when the year still hadn’t changed in Greece. I was so happy I could show my little nephews where I am and what the ship looks like and they could get a glimpse into what I do. All the operations are over now, the labs are not that busy, we’re putting things away and we are cleaning, writing the last reports and updating our research plans, saving data, making back ups and a new countdown has begun. In just a few days we’ll be heading to port, Lyttelton, in Christchurch. 

We’ll travel in so many directions across the world to go home and back to work, until we meet again for the post-cruise meeting, hopefully back in New Zealand. For me, first a holiday on the North island, then to Greece to see my parents and then home to Dublin.
This is how we're going to spread leaving New Zealand (ignore the blue dots, nothing to do with us, can' get rid of them from the image).

Καλή Χρονιά! Happy New Year everybody! Make 2018 count!

I'll leave you with a picture of the full moon last night shining on our wake and our derrick!

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